Jun 10

The Rare Silversword Plant

I took a trip up to the top of Haleakala recently and found the amazing, beautiful, silver sword plant. This is the only place in the world that the silver sword plant can be found. We found it growing at an elevation of 10,023 feet.


Although they look very prickly and sticky, I had to touch it to know for sure. It was not prickly at all, but actually very soft and velvety.

It has a life span of approximately 2-50 years. I know, that’s a lonnng approximation. During that life cycle, it will bloom only once, for about 2 months, right before it dies.


The bloom will grow to between 2 and 8 feet tall and have hundreds of individual flowers on it from which it will reseed.


Here is a photo of my daughter taking a photo of one of the silversword plants. You can see several growing in the background as well as some of the very tall spent blooms. I thought this might give you a better perspective on their size and how large they can get.

Since it is a threatened species, many of the seeds are collected and propagated in green houses and hand planted a few years later. Their survival rate once planted is about 90%, but they don’t seem to live as long as their wild counterparts. Because of the efforts made to protect them, there are now more than 50,000 plants found within a 250 acre fenced area at the Haleakala National Park. Tourists are not allowed to pull them up and take them home as they did in the 1900’s.  …and the livestock have been told not to eat them anymore.  Actually, that’s why the fence has been erected, to prevent the livestock from grazing on them.

It is a member of the sunflower and daisy family and is believed to have evolved millions of years ago from the tarweed plants in the area where California is now. The Hawaiian word for the silver sword is `ahinahina meaning “very gray.”

www.texasgirlfindsaloha.comThe blooming doesn’t occur until July and will end around October.

That means I will be eating candied ginger and pulling out ALLL of my motion sickness paraphernalia once again to take the hour long windy road up the mountain to scope out the blooms on the silver sword. Oh, the things I do for you readers…I know…someone’s got to do it! (BIG sigh.) Did I mention that it’s cold up there too?

Since the plants are found at the summit of Haleakala, I’m hoping we can get there on a clear day to actually take photos of the crater to show you. Haleakala is the extinct volcano on Maui. Because of the high altitude, the clouds build quickly and make the visibility of the crater itself impossible to see. It is a rare day to actually be able to view the crater.


This is what it looked like the day we were up there…can’t see the crater, can you?

Obviously, this post will be continued at a later date.


Aloha and mahalo (thank you) for stopping by!

Texas Girl Finds Aloha